I’ve uploaded some of my photos under the “Gallery” link. Click on a thumbnail to see the full image. Please don’t steal my photos – people will think you’re a terrible photographer anyway, so it’s not really worth it.
I “designed” a sticker a few weeks back, but waited to post about it until my copy came in and I could see how bad it looked. Turns out it’s decent enough to slap on someone else’s stuff. It looks about as ragged and sketchy as I was going for, which is like a drunk Pollock did some conceptual body art with Van-Gogh’s ear blood. Guess I should’ve gotten an art degree. If you’re unlucky, I’ll make more weird stuff for future you to spend their hard-earned wages on.
I like beer, and free beer tastes better for some reason, so go buy stickers from me to enable my beer drinking habit. Or don’t. Whatever.
You can also just click the link in the header.
Occasionally I pretend to be a mechanic. It’s technically part of my job description, but that doesn’t mean I’m any good at it. I replaced several parts on the truck fairly early on – all ball joints, tie rods, steering damper, idler arm, front shocks, rear shocks and leaf springs, and the Pittman arm.
The Pittman arm sucked to get off. Several hours of bearing pullers, ball-pean hammers, and angle grinders finally broke it free. All suspension parts are good quality greasable aftermarket bits (buy once, cry once), and the shocks are Bilstein. The rear leaf springs are the ARB OME Dakar springs, which add 2″ of lift from stock. With all the stuff in the back, if levels out fairly well. Note: if you’re doing any major suspension work, please get your vehicle aligned after. There are far too many poorly installed lift kits on the road. Your bro-dozer is significantly less libido-enhancing when the alignment is complete crap after your 6″ body lift.
Continuing with the theme of well-organized and properly fused wiring, I wired my LED lights through a Blue Sea distribution block housed inside an IP rated enclosure in the engine bay. The control wiring is run via a multi-conductor machine control cable through a gland in the firewall. All switching is done with water-resistant relays, and the main power rail is protected with a circuit breaker near the battery.
Again, if you’re going to run large-gauge hot rails it’s really worth protecting them properly. Fires are less than ideal.
My bed frame is built from birch plywood, with 2×3 stringers underneath. It’s sectioned into thirds with hinges so that I can taco it up and get more bed space if needed. It’s slightly smaller in dimension than a twin-size mattress.
The holes in the side rails allow me to lift the bed and support it on 1″ aluminum dowel pins. I can stuff skis and other crap in the space underneath, and still have decent headroom. It’s helpful for weekend trips, and easily converted back to full headroom for weekday living. In retrospect, I should’ve raised the side rails a bit so I could fit 10 gallon totes under the bed, but this works fine for most of my needs, and the headroom is still great.
I like yogurt. My coworkers know this, my friends know this, and I routinely get made fun of for it. I don’t care – yogurt is delicious. So delicious that I purchased a Dometic CFX50W to store my yogurt. The fridge fit perfectly in the extended cab behind the driver’s seat. I removed the jumpseat and seatbelt flange, and ran a SJOOW cable from the house distribution fuse box. A few friends have the ARB fridges, but I went with the Dometic because it opens on the side. I didn’t have room for the end-opening ARB fridge, and I think Dometic builds private label fridges for ARB anyways, so I’m happy with it.
It also holds the occasional beer.
In the last post you may have noticed my Buddy Portable propane heater, and had an aneurysm imagining the CO buildup in an enclosed truck cap. Fear not. While the Buddy heater does have an O2 meter on it, you should really use a secondary CO detector. CO combines with hemoglobin and prevents your blood from carrying oxygen. It doesn’t matter how much O2 you’ve got, you can still die from high enough CO levels. I bought a monitor that has an LCD readout so I can get real-time and peak CO levels in PPM. It’s a little peace of mind. I also added a smoke detector because I like not dying in fires.
I bought some el-cheapo LED light strips from Amazon. They came with a remote control and wifi control capability. I hate this. Why everything needs wifi, bluetooth, and 4k HD cameras attached is beyond me. They do a pretty good job at lighting up the space, however, and they can strobe through colors when I want to have a German rave experience in my truck.
Blue Sea Systems makes some great products, and I appreciate their quality. The disconnector switches the positive lead from my house battery, feeding to a 100A circuit breaker, and then to the distribution fuse box. Note the extra-beefy aluminum bus strap between the disconnector and the breaker. Mmmmmmm, ampacity. I really don’t want to watch my house burn down, so I ensure all my wiring and devices are reasonably protected.
The house battery is linked to the starting battery (and alternator) with a Blue Sea SI-ACR and some extremely high-quality machine flex cable that my friend appropriated from his old shop. There is a 120A fuse on either end of the cable run, and the ACR is tucked behind the stock fuse box on top of the passenger-side wheel well. I also bought a Powermaster GM CS130 alternator that I have yet to install.
Solar power runs from the panel through a Renogy charge controller, and directly to the battery.
I was going to buy a nice pure-sine inverter, but I realized that all I do is charge a laptop and toothbrush, so I got this one from Walmart for an absurdly low price. I have my doubts that it will supply anywhere near the advertised 1000W, but I’m never going to need that much power. I’ll probably open it up sometime and replace the thermal paste to extend its life a little. The alternator is wired off the positive distribution lug on the fuse panel. It’s protected by the circuit breaker, and it keeps any large currents from running through my ATO fuses.
I’m a firm believer in doing things correctly the first time, so you’re not cleaning up your own stupidity later. I’ve seen more terrible vehicle wiring jobs than I care to remember, usually involving sharp-edged holes drilled in firewalls, with thin-jacket cable and a disturbing lack of fuses. But damn, does that bass rattle the windows right off their tracks. It’s probably all worth it.
I used Bimed IP68 plastic cable glands to route my wires between the cab and bed. I had to drill holes in the bed to install them, which was unfortunate, but it’s all for The Greater Good. Take heed, guy with slammed WRX – use a proper step drill on sheet metal and you’ll avoid all those jagged triangular holes.
The ground strap provides a low-resistance connection between my house electrical and the chassis. I measured about a 1-2 ohm resistance between the bed and chassis before the strap, and 0.1 ohm (the lowest my Fluke can read) afterwards. The strap is connected to the bed with a bolt, with enough thread protruding into the bed to act as a main house negative terminal. The heat shrink is electrically unnecessary on the ground strap, but it adds some mechanical strength, and I just love heat shrink like you wouldn’t believe.